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The COVID-19 Asset Sprawl

The COVID-19 Asset Sprawl August 26, 2020
IT Asset Management

by Carlos Casanova

Early this spring, many asset managers, in all industries and company sizes, were presented with scenarios they’d never imagined could or would happen. Many were told that in just a matter of weeks, they would need to mobilize a massive workforce to work remotely. Everything that was traditionally being done in the office suddenly had to be done remotely.

This undertaking was easier for some companies than for others. For those who already had a significant amount of their employees working remotely, it wasn’t a major shift.  However, some companies would be confronting a massive job.

For example, I spoke to an Asset Manager at a regional bank about his experience. One morning in early March, he was called into the CIOs office to discuss the impending changes that COVID-19 would bring.

Before the meeting, about 200 individuals from the IT department had the equipment and authority to work remotely. The decision was made at that meeting to deploy 2,000 new additional laptops in three weeks to employees all across the organization and in all departments. The organization had decided to go almost entirely virtual/remote, except for essential customer-facing team members.  The success – or failure – of this effort would rest largely on this Asset Manager’s ability to procure, configure, and deploy 10 times more devices in three weeks than were currently in use remotely.

They recognized that as difficult as this would be, the real challenge and danger to the organization was the long term tracking and management of these new devices. They knew that the existing processes and procedures needed to be reviewed to ensure they could keep track of all the devices being sent out, as this was a huge monetary investment for the organization.

The IT security, risk management, and privacy areas would also need to ramp up their procedures to ensure compliance while expediting the effort.

After the first batch of deployments, they quickly realized that the current infrastructure and licensing capabilities simply didn’t work. They needed to go back and review license agreements and acquire licenses where necessary.  The infrastructure and security departments also needed to increase its VPN capability to enable the bank to continue to operate.

Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of organizations were faced with similar situations. How many of them however were able to handle the sprawl of hundreds or thousands of new assets being deployed? Add to that the issue that all these assets were being sent to private residences where the company had little control over their physical security.

Those IT Asset Managers who already had a solid Asset Management solution in place can probably get through this pandemic without too many issues. Those who did not, and simply handed out equipment without comprehensive registration and tracking, are going to be facing major challenges going forward related to compliance, privacy, and theft.

However, it’s never too late to implement an effective, scalable Asset Management system. At this stage, you can probably still go through emails, look at shipping invoices, and see exactly who got what.  All these assets will need to be accounted for at some point, most likely tax time, when it’s crucial to have an accurate accounting of everything.  That time is still months away!  Now that the initial frenzy is over, you can start taking stock get ahead of the curve.  OwlPoint’s RAPID IT Asset Management can give you a snapshot in just one week.  Think of how much time, money, and aggravation this will save you down the road.